Sunday, May 28, 2006

Long Beach DLSE Supervisor Victor Jurado likes imbibing with female subordinates!

In the more professional government agencies, there is something known as a fraternization policy. While policies vary from agency to agency, the common denominator is that superiors don't break bread with subordinates during off hours. It doesn't create anything but problems and political apple-polishing; This is what is known as the APPEARANCE of impropiety. From what I hear, the only supervisor drinking with the ladies was Victor Jurado. Also, this was not the first time, more like the third time. Those who he drinks with in the off hours are KR, PM, LR, LM, and Rosie. By the way, I'm sure that these initials can be converted to full names upon request.

Apparently, Victor cannot hold his booze that well, either, because he started talking about things that were best left at the meeting that took place between several DLSE desk jockeys (Lupe Almaraz, Greg Rupp, King Cheung, Abigael Calva, Tongkun Kim, Henry Huerta, and Victor Jurado...if I left anyone out let me know so I can post their names, too).
At the Garment Worker Center (GWC), they have been consistently complaining about certain inefficient/incompetent DLSE staff: Allegedly, they are KR, RC, IV, and JH. At first, the GWC did not name the individuals. King Cheung, in his desire to leave state service on a high note, demanded that they name names in front of all: to which they did.

King's great because after all, what does he care? He's leaving in a few weeks, so it's not like it will be his problem. It's been my professional experience that Lupe Almaraz and Greg Rupp will do their very best to ignore the problem(s) communicated to them by the GWC. They will do that until someone above their paygrade kicks them, which means that if they want their problem fixed, then the GWC had better start contacting their local politicos as well as Assemblymen Paul Koretz, who chairs the the labor committee. Rumor has KR being transferred in the future, but they don't know when or where (Public Information Unit, the DLSE dumping ground perhaps?).

After GWC has a politician that will move on the iefficiency of the DLSE, then they might suffle some pretards around and call it "restructuring." But the problem won't be solved, because guys like Lupe and Greg will still be in play. Besides, Greg Rupp gets real pissy if anyone critcizes the way he runs DLSE because he actually believes that it's his agency to run however he wants. What makes him delusional like that is anyone's guess, because the DLSE is not a sole proprietorship with him as the only owner. So if you criticize the way he does things, expect him to drag his feet or ignore it completely, unless he targets you like the way he did the clerk in Santa Ana years ago. You remember Greg! During your stint of being "in charge" of WCA, you were going to transfer her from the Santa Ana office to the Los Angeles PIU, then she married a Workers Compensation attorney (from the state Santa Ana building) and your company (the DLSE) settled confidentially.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Diana Chen's new Santa Ana BoFE policy on vacation requests

So Diana Chen tells 25% of her people (that's one person out the four she supervises) that vacation requests are now prioritized as title first, then seniority. WTF??? That's never been done before, but then again, when Diana has it out for someone, then the Dept. of Retaliation Playbook comes out with her braying out invisible chapter and verse.

Well, at least she's looking out for her peeps. I'm sure that this command leadership decision will improve morale, motivate her crew to be more productive, and thus serve the People of California better. The big joke of this is that she supposedly went to management school for a week in Sacramento. If this is the kind of training being certified by the state, then the People of California are in a heap of trouble.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Asst. Chief Greg Rupp issues memo about Public Records Act requests

Greg Rupp, Asst. Chief for the DLSE, cranked out an email in a knee-jerk reaction to a KCBS report on the media regarding access to documents under the Public Records Act (PRA). At the bottom of the email, he wrote that May is Sweeps month. I'm surprised he understood the concept of "sweeps month." Almost every time I walked by his office, he was either asleep, wasting time with Abigael Calva, or staring blankly at the computer screen.

Would anyone like a copy of the email, the PRA policy, or information on how we are now directed to "serve the public in this process?" Send your request to:
Assistant Chief Greg Rupp, Statewide BOFE mamager
320 West 4th Street, Room 450
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What does it feel like to work for someone who's as competent as Diana Chen?

Diana Chen interviewed many people for her BoFE Santa Ana vacancy of Industrial Relations Representative (IRR), the immediate rung under the Deputy Labor Commissioner (DLC) title.

Out of all the people that she interviewed, what are the odds the she selected a female? Out of all the possible combinations, what are the odds that she selected someone who's Chinese like her? Given the all of the candidates' qualifications, what are the odds that probationary supervisor Diana Chen selected a Chinese female as her subordinate? Imagine that! Diana Chen "selecting" the best candidate that also happens to be an exact match as Diana's gender and nationality. The BoFE office in Santa Ana needs Spanish speakers; take a look at the victimization wage claims, subjects of interview, the lists goes on and on. Want to find out who the best qualified candidate is/was? File a Public records Act request with Diana Chen and request copies of the IRR vacancy announcement in Santa Ana, copies of the documents that the applicants submitted, copies of the interviews (paper and audio), and who was ultimately selected! This way, you'll experience DLSE foot-dragging at its finest! If it's determined that the best candidate was not selected, then you'll be subjected to the best excuse-making that the DLSE has to offer! Probationary supervisor Diana Chen is on her way up the career ladder!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

DLSE Wage Claims: can they sing to the same sheet of music? Are there any relevant policies & procedures?

Back in the day, the San Bernadino Wage Claim office had a Hearing Officer (Deputy Labor Commissioner II) that awarded attorneys' fees in their NDA, Notice of Decision and Award. This is what the Hearing Officer busts out after a wage claim is presented to the Labor Commissioner's office.

So along comes this attorney and starts to argue in another Wage Claim office that they want attorney fees. That office tells them that Hearing Officers cannot award attorneys fees. Then the attorney says that's not true, and that he has the NDA to show otherwise. Well, this gets kicked right up to Abbi and Nance, and what do they do? Nada, Zilch, Nothing. It gets BURIED because the Hearing Officer that awarded the attorneys fees was well liked and thus well protected, even though that decision painted the Labor Commissioner's Office into a bit of a corner.

Whether or not awarding attorneys fees is a policy (or not) remains to be seen because no one can figure out what is DLSE policy (only if it's written down, according to them) or what is a DLSE practice (what is not written down). To this day, Regional Manager Abigael Calva, Assistant Chief Nance Steffen, and Deputy Chief Lupe Almaraz have yet to codify any of their idiosyncratic policies/practices and have them posted in a conspicuous place, like the internet for the public to also review. To do that would acknowledge that something is done in a certain way, and it must be done their way. This is why each office does things their own way, because their is no standard practice, and even if there was a standard practice, it is certainly not enforced evenly and across all offices.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Victor Jurado leaves the Long Beach office to do what Abigael Calva can't at the Los Angeles office

So if Victor Jurado leaves the Long Beach office and works at the Los Angeles office, who's supervising the Long Beach office? The last time Victor Jurado came to "assist" the Los Angeles office with his top-knotch supervisory & leadership talents, poor ol' Nance (pronounced 'Nancy,' go figure) Steffen had to get on an airplane and personally fix Cashiering and most of its problems.

Abigael Calva busted out some whiny email about Reynaldo retiring, the vacancy his position created, and made excuses about how the DLSE cannot fill the position until his vacation/leave runs out. During this bureaucrat waiting period, she's going to give us Victor Jurado. This was the same thing she did last year when Antonio Guillen retired from the Los Angeles office. Antonio retired, Victor temporarily replaced Antonio, then Abigael replaced Victor with Reynaldo (who she stole from the Van Nuys office), Reynaldo retired, and now Victor is back. If Abigael really gave two cents about her crew in Los Angeles, then she never would have plucked Victor from Long Beach and threw him in LA. Typical of Abigael's management style, her pills are often difficult to swallow.

On an unrelated Desk Donkey note, I heard that Vicky Bradshaw's lame and useless EEEC task force will quietly disappear in the next year. It seems that all the money that was poured into that group of smarties really wasn't cost effective. Expect to see either some lame excuse as to its disbanding or nothing at all (think: Jose Millan's quiet departure from LWDA and into the kiddie college community).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ramifications for those who don't hold their required cattle-call hearings?

Ever heard of the Peter Principle? One rises to their level of incompetence. Back when they had the cattlecall hearings and required supervisors to hold those hearings, Susan Nakagama took off like a rocket. She didn't come back to work until that sh*tstorm blew over. With so many people retiring (and many more to be retiring in the future), you would think that the big-brains who run their fiefdoms at DLSE would attempt to plug the holes in the dyke, but they don't seem to have the intelligence to think that far ahead.

A dumb management system only treats the symptoms. A smart management system cures the disease. In this metaphor, the DLSE band-aid approach is to rotate supervisors into the recently vacated holes in the Los Angeles office so that there is (ultimately) no accountability amongst any of them. It's the, "it didn't happen on my shift" excuse. Rather than cure what's causing the cough, their only solution is to try and suppress it with cough syrup.

A smart management system eliminates the cough by curing the cause of it. Regional Manager Abigael Calva and Assistant Chief Nance Steffen could have spent a portion of their big-brain work month (the time Reynaldo gave them his notice) on plugging the hole as soon as Reynaldo took leave, but instead they drew upon previous career civil servant/bureaucrat experience, and left it to a rotating shift of lower-paid minions. These supervisors must leave their primary office posts (creating temporary holes in those offices) because their supervisory Desk Donkeys are trained to provide excuses and not solutions. Nance Steffen's boss, Deputy Chief Lupe Almaraz, is just about as useful to the People of California as Nance and Abigael because (apparently) he's allowing them to continue at this current level of performance & proficiency; I guess it's a good thing that neither Abigael nor Nance are up for any promotions.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Q. What do 2 DLSE supervisors say when they retire from the Los Angeles office?

Word on the street is that Regional Manager Abigael Calva knew about DLC III Reynaldo Rivera's retirement date for over a month. He left two days ago with no formal replacement in play; great job on Abigael Calva's foresight! Do you think, at the very least, she had anyone brought up-to-speed on the busiest Wage Claim office in California? Heck no! In the classic knee-jerk reaction of state worker/civil servant competence & efficiency,she's gonna have Victor Jurado make a mess of it for a while....whoops, I meant 'take care of things,' then revolving-door the rotation for other supervisors. Instead of kicking Diana Chen up to LosAngeles (she's barely supervising 3 employees and a clerk), they're going to keep her in Santa Ana where her priorities consist of cleaning the office. That duty consists of delegating the movement of one pile of boxes to 15 feet across the floor (in the state, you need a supervisor for that kind of labor). Good thing they are paying her over $5,000/month for such productivity.

Los Angeles supervisor DLC III King Cheung also put in his papers; I guess he's had enough of the DLSE roller coaster. Why deal with an endless amount of bullsh*t when you can retire and say "screw this." He finally figured out that the tease of making him a DLC IV (Regional Manager) was akin to a massage without the happy ending. Besides, who wouldn't find pleasure in telling Regional Manager Susan Nakagama where she can put her genius directives, mandates, emails, and memos?

Rumor also has DLC III Robert Sweet retiring from the San Bernadino office. After the Gardena high school grad did a wink-wink, nudge-hudge to have her pals Julie Tarazon and Gretchen Torregano both promoted by Art Lujan to DLC IIIs, poor ol' Bob Sweet filed a grievance/complaint about the promotion process, where they discovered the errors of their ways and finally promoted him. Too bad he had to waste the state's time and resources in voicing what everyone already knew about the examination/selection process. This is what sucks for the People of California; good guys like Robert Sweet, Reynaldo Rivera, Linda Fox, and Roy Coleman retire while Abigael Calva, Nance Steffen, Greg Rupp, and Susan Nakagama remain. Why can't the state keep in their employ Robert, Reynaldo, Linda, and Roy and have Abby, Nance, Greg and Susan retire?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

WSJ article: weighing the cost of making partner at the big law firm

In today’s Wall Street Journal, there’s a snippet about lawyers weighing the cost of making partner versus quality of life. Because the Boomers are retiring and the recent legal grads don’t feel like putting in the hours at the big law firm in hopes of making partner, there’s a double whammy to their billable hours. Up and coming lawyers are comparing a life outside the office to the hours they’ll grind in hopes of being selected for partner.

In a way, it’s a good thing that lawyers don’t suffer that private-industry ailment while serving in the State of California. There’s a reason why guys like Tony Mischel and Robert Jones appear to be fourth-string quarterbacks by those heavy hitters who work at markedly distinct law firms like Latham & Watkins, Girardi & Keese, and Greenberg Traurig. In any event, no one needs to worry about Tony Mischel or Robert Jones making the Super Lawyers list…they're much too busy trying to fire civil servants with permanent status than accomplish anything of substantive value to the People of California.

I recently went to a CalPERS seminar where they gave the participants a hypothetical choice: drive a new MBZ or retire a year early. Not one person raised their hand when asked who selected the MBZ. Work pays the bills, so if your overhead is low, that's one less thing to stress. W. C. Fields once said that work is something so horrible, that you must be paid money to do it..